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Novak Djokovic's Sights Set On Roger Federer's No. 1 Record: 'I'm In A Very Good Position' - ATP Tour
Djokovic Chasing Federer's No. 1 Record: 'I'm Going To Give My All'
Will Novak Djokovic finish his career with more weeks atop the FedEx ATP Rankings than anyone in history? After breaking a tie with Pete Sampras on Monday for second-most weeks at World No. 1 by reaching 287 weeks, the Serbian now has his sights set on Roger Federer. The Swiss star has spent a record 310 weeks in the top spot. “Of course I'm aware of the amount of weeks,” Djokovic said after winning a record-breaking 36th ATP Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. “I'm getting closer. I'm in a very good position, I feel like. I have also been playing really well and been healthy, which is great.” If he does not relinquish World No. 1 between now and then, Djokovic can pass Federer’s mark on 8 March 2021. He currently has a 1,410-point lead over World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who under the current 22-month system can’t gain any points at Roland Garros because he won the tournament last year. Making history has long been one of Djokovic’s greatest motivators, and reaching Federer is on his mind. However, he is staying in the moment and focussing on what is under his control. “The historic No. 1 ranking goal is something that is on the horizon,” Djokovic said. “I'm going to give my all and very best that I can possibly give in the next period to achieve that. “I can't [look] too far [ahead] and I don't know what years to come will bring for me and just tennis and the world in general.” Although Djokovic is closing in on the major milestone, he knows how difficult it is to maintain not just the top spot, but a place among the world’s elite. “Being a top player of the world, top five of the world, it requires a lot of consistency, requires a lot of determination, a lot of sacrifice throughout the year,” Djokovic said. “It's not enough to play well one month a year, two months a year. You have to play well the entire year in order to be one of the best players in the world. “So that's probably the ultimate challenge we have in our sport, to be No. 1 in the longest season in sports.” Djokovic is the top seed at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday. The Serb is chasing his 18th Grand Slam title, which would move him within one of Rafael Nadal's haul of 19 and closer to Federer's record of 20. Nadal seeks a record-extending 13th Roland Garros crown. Federer will not play again in 2020 following two surgeries this year on his right knee. Djokovic won Roland Garros in 2016 when he defeated Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and Andy Murray in the final.
Rafael Nadal Makes Winning Return, 200 Days After Last Match - ATP Tour
Rafael Nadal drops just two games in a dominant return to the ATP Tour in Rome.
Rafael Nadal made a welcome return to the ATP Tour on Wednesday evening, when he got his quest for a 10th Internazionali BNL d'Italia crown off to a strong start in his first tour-level match for 200 days. Nadal grew in confidence to extend his unbeaten ATP Head2Head record to six matches against fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 73 minutes at the Foro Italico in Rome. It was Nadal’s first match since 29 February, when he lifted the 85th tour-level trophy of his career at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (d. Fritz) in Acapulco. "It's good to be back on the Tour," said Nadal, in an on-court interview. "I miss the crowds. I played a good match, maybe he was a little bit tired after all his matches in New York. It was a perfect start for me. It was solid, [and I hit] good shots on the forehand and backhand. I didn't expect to play that well." The 33-year-old superstar, who owns a 62-6 record in Rome, is attempting to capture a record 36th ATP Masters 1000 title this year, which would break a tie with World No. 1 and four-time former Rome champion Novak Djokovic. Nadal will next play No. 13 seed Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic in the third round. Nadal saved one break point in the first game, and from 1-1 won 16 of the next 22 points. En route to a 5-1 advantage included Nadal striking a powerful backhand winner for a 3-1 lead. He was then a recipient of a backhand wide from Carreno Busta in the sixth game. Nadal closed out the 36-minute opener with an ace. There was no let-up for Carreno Busta, the recent US Open semi-finalist (l. to Zverev), who needed to save two break points in the first game of the second set. Nadal raced up the court for a forehand volley winner to break at 1-1, and pressure continued to mount on Carreno Busta, who dropped to 1-4 after a forehand wide. Nadal went on to complete his 14th victory in 17 matches this season with a fifth service break. Did You Know?Nadal has been ranked in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for 782 consecutive weeks since 25 April 2005, second only to Jimmy Connors (789). Nadal has won a tour-level title for an Open Era record 17 straight seasons (2004-20).
Roger Federer's Memorable Win Against Rafael Nadal At 2019 Wimbledon - ATP Tour
Relive Roger Federer's memorable win against Rafael Nadal in the 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals.
The 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals featured an ATP Head2Head clash that hadn't been seen at the All England Club in more than a decade: Roger Federer playing Rafael Nadal. The last time the legendary foes met on the London grass was in the 2008 championship, which many experts still say is the best match in history. Entering the match, Federer had won five of their past six meetings, with three of those victories coming in straight sets. But Nadal, who was trying to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011, had just cruised past the Swiss with the loss of only nine games in the Roland Garros semi-finals. The Spaniard led their rivalry 23-16. “It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially [as we] haven't played [here] in so long,” Federer said. After a hiccup in the second set, Federer booked a place in his 12th final at The Championships with a 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph. “It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then, the climax at the end, with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. It had everything at the end, which was great," Federer said. "I'm just relieved it's all over at this point. “But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather. I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets. I can be very happy.” The Swiss superstar played at his aggressive best on return of serve, at the net and in long rallies across the three-hour, two-minute battle on Centre Court. Federer seized the momentum in his 40th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal with a break of serve at 3-1 in the third set and, in spite of an early break in the fourth set, kept 18-time Grand Slam championship winner Nadal at bay before converting his fifth match point chance. The 37-year-old became the third oldest man in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach a Grand Slam championship final. Federer, who registered his 100th Wimbledon match win over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals, earned a chance to capture the 21st major crown of his career in his 31st final. Nadal stood deep behind the baseline on return of serve and Federer soon picked up on the ploy, exposing the angles of the court and serve and volleying with great frequency. “I thought it was a tough first set with not many chances,” said Federer. “[It] came down to I thought a really good tie-break. I think I served well there, but [I] also came up with some really good returns and rallies. He got off the gates faster with a great lob, I believe, to get the mini break first. As the first set was dominated by a lot of good serving, I thought that was probably a big problem for me. But I was able to get out of that one." While Nadal’s return positioning, deep behind the baseline, was questioned, the Spaniard soon won 10 points in a row, capitalising on a lapse in concentration from Federer, who lost his serve to love after a backhand error in the second set. That allowed Nadal to gain the momentum. But as the intensity level increased early in the third set, Federer out-duelled Nadal in the key moments and took over the match. “The early break in the third set, I had a couple of mistakes in that moment. That was a tough moment I needed to resist. The beginning of the third set probably was one of the keys of the match,” said Nadal. “I started to play much better at the end of the match, but it was too late.” Federer converted his fifth match point and pumped his fists in celebration. He struck 51 winners, including 14 aces, saving six of eight break points against Nadal, who committed 25 unforced errors. "It's been a tough one. I had my chances, but he played a little bit better than me," said Nadal. "Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserves it. Congrats to him." Nadal bounced back from his defeat, triumphing at the Coupe Rogers and earning his 19th Grand Slam title at the US Open. The lefty finished atop the year-end FedEx ATP Rankings for the fifth time. Federer, however, suffered heartbreak in the Wimbledon final. Novak Djokovic saved two championship points to stun the Swiss 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3).